Mark Lynas on GMOs

Mark Lynas, a respected environmentalist, gave a lecture at the 2013 Oxford Farm Conference. As a former pioneer of the anti-GM (genetic modification) movement, Mark used his speech as an opportunity to apologize for his false advocacy. After fully investigating the ins and outs of genetically modified crops through a scientific lens, Mark became a strong proponent for this biotechnology. As an environmentalist, Mark was very glad to learn that GM crops require less pesticide application and can lead to less deforestation (due to having higher yielding crop lands). Nutritional benefits, like vitamin A supplements in brown rice for example, can have significant impacts on global health especially for those in impoverished countries. Furthermore, Mark learned that the processes used in genetic modification are not as “unnatural” as he thought. In fact they mimic natural processes used by bacteria and viruses.

As an advocate for agriculture, I think it was very valuable to watch this video. When delivering the true message of agriculture, it is crucial to understand both mindsets on every issue. Mark was able to provide important insights from both sides of the debate, and he used scientific and logical assertions to back up his claims. As the world population continues to grow, the environment continues to deteriorate, and nutrition continues to be a pressing issue, creating a global consensus on such topics will be imperative. The only way we can come to such a resolution is through effective communication, research, and advocacy.

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